NASA has finally answered a long-standing question: all but one of the six American flags on the Moon are still standing up. Everyone is now proudly talking about it. The only problem is that they aren’t American flags anymore.
They are all white.
The debate on the Moon flags has been going on for decades. Engineers and historians have been discussing it without ever coming to a definitive answer as to their status. Even Dennis Lacarruba—the manufacturer of the flags—didn’t think they would still be standing erect. Lacarruba’s New Jersey company, Annin, made the nylon flags for $5.50 ($33 in 2012 dollars) a piece in 1969:
I can’t believe there would be anything left. I gotta be honest with you. It’s gonna be ashes.
Even the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera man, Dr. Mark Robinson, was skeptical. Like Lacarruba, Robinson thought that there wouldn’t be any trace of the flags to be found.
But his own camera has proved him wrong. The LRO has been taking photos of the Moon landing sites for a while now. They are so sharp that you can even see the tracks of the rovers.